Transforming juvenile offenders in South Africa

Jul 11, 2014

Players develop in Football - Faith - Future

The current Drakenstein squad
The current Drakenstein squad

The FIFA World Cup 2014 is currently taking place in Brazil. Even if South Africa is not playing in the tournament, millions of South Africans – our staff included – are passionately and excitedly following the biggest Football event in Brazil. Check out our Facebook Page to read some exciting stories about what is happening inside Ambassadors Football around the world during this time, especially in the participating nations.

In this newsletter we'd like to introduce our Hope Academy Drakenstein Head Coach.
Find out about the roles, passion and day-to-day duties of all our Ambassadors Football South Africa staff members on our website.
After finishing high school Sivuyile “Juju” Tabata studied theology before becoming involved in sports ministry. In 2008 he was part of the three months International Sports Leadership School in Stellenbosch. As Hope Academy Drakenstein Manager Juju leads Bible Studies, life skill sessions, football coaching as well as mentoring the young men in prison. When these men leave prison Juju guides them in finding jobs as well supporting them in their re-integration into their communities. Juju’s passion is the restoration of life and seeing men reaching their full potential as father figures in their families and communities.

As we focus on Football – Faith – Future we are so grateful to see the young men growing on all three levels.

Football - We are in the middle of the season and currently second in LFA Drakenstein Promotional League.

Faith - The past month in Ambassadors Football Hope Academy Drakenstein we saw one player/inmate give his life to God by excepting Jesus as his savior!
We utilized the World Cup fever by introducing the players to the ToWho message.

Future - We ended this round of talks about our core values by looking at excellence. We also emphasized the fact that it is not knowledge of values that leads to breakthrough but application (obedience) to the values that leads to personal transformation.

Thanks for partnering with us!

Drakenstein Coach Juju
Drakenstein Coach Juju
Apr 14, 2014

Promotional League begins for HA Drakenstein

Dear supporters,

The past couple of months have been encouraging for us as we continue to reach young men in prison, and mentor our graduates who have been released. Since the middle of January we've been working inside the prison. We have had exciting talks about the values of the Academy, starting with respect and self-discipline. On the 1st of February we started practising again. We have had some guys recently released on parole and serve as good role models in their communities. Through them leaving we have the opportunity to have new guys joining the Academy. We have had some trials already and 6 new inmates have been selected to join the Academy.

Let's have a closer look now at the teams performance in the local football league.

On the 5th/6th of April the Promotional League in the Drakenstein LFA area kicked off with a 4:0 (1:0) win for Hope Academy Drakenstein against Green Hills. In sunny weather conditions of 28ºC Anele Buja, within the first 15 minutes of the game, scored the first goal for Drakenstein.

Still in the first half, Drakenstein for a brief moment, seemed to have lost a goal to their opponents, until it became clear that there was a handball by the opponents before the ball crossed the line. After allowing Green Hills a lot of play during the rest of the first half, Drakenstein dominated for most of the second half with a second goal by Ayanda Singama and a third by Axiwe Khonjwa. In the last 20 minutes a seemingly more fit Drakenstein team scored a fourth goal, executed by Thulani Ngxokomsa.

After a fair games on both sides and a well-deserved win by Drakenstein, Coach Sivuyile “Juju” Tabata stated that he was satisfied with the team’s performance, calling it a great first match.  He did however add that improvement is needed and that the team will work on certain weaker areas in the coming practice sessions. A great match day was characterized by an equally great team spirit, not only on the pitch but also next to it, with loyal support for the players.

Drakenstein were supposed to play another match on Sunday, but as the opponents didn’t arrive for the game this gives the Drakenstein 6 points for the first two matches.There are still 24 more games ahead and it looks set to be a great season for Drakenstein!

Thanks for all your continued support towards the young men and their FOOTBALL, FAITH and FUTURE development.

Please visit our new website to find more up to date information about all our programs.

Jan 16, 2014

A new year lies ahead

New Year Greetings
New Year Greetings

What will the new year bring?

What is for sure is that children and young people will be impacted through the Hope Academy program. Coaches will be trained and equipped to be father figures on and off the field.

Pray with us for God's guidance and blessings in 2014. May he be at work in and through all of us!

Looking back - 2013

In October we had two amazing Training events in Hope Academy Drakenstein Prison of several days duration. Through 'The world needs a father' and 'Coaching for Life' Training,  young offenders have been equipped as future Fathers, Coaches and positive Role Models in their communities once they are released.

The participants engagement and response was absolutely great! 30 guys listening, absorbing and asking great questions. Men who all committed serious crimes in the past asking now: How do you as a man treat a woman? How do I teach my children to treat the opposite sex? And our favorite: How do we as fathers in the house become to fathers to the world?

At the same time Coaches and Children were working hard on and of the field in Hope Academy Soweto. Young kids becoming greater players and personalities. Let's have a closer look at one of them:

Thabiso is 10 years old. He lost his mother in 2008 and has never known his father. Thabiso currently lives with his aunt and four cousins in a small shack in Soweto. No one is employed in his home and the family lives off a social grant from the Government. Despite this, he has made huge progress since joining the Soweto Hope Academy in April 2010. He has received 6 awards for academic progress in school and is also showing great potential on the soccer field. The Academy coaches play a significant role in his life as he has no father or male role model to support him. The Academy is also committed to developing him holistically until he leaves school and working alongside his family. With no regular intervention from positive role models, Thabiso would be in danger of making poor choices later in his life. Through long term intervention and mentoring we are giving Thabiso the best opportunity to be successful in the future.

Looking at these stories, we know: There is true hope possible even in the most difficult circumstances.

Thank you for making life changes possible!

Sep 18, 2013

New faces working in the prison Hope Academy

Juju Tabata
Juju Tabata

Dear supporters

We have 3 new faces doing the work in Prison since July 1st. We are so excited to welcome back Juju Tabata to the team working in the prison. He was a member of the team that helped to start the work in 2009. He now acts as the Technical adviser and coach to the team. He also works with the boys 3 times a week in the areas of Football - Faith - Future.

Ben Marais joined Ambassadors in Sport in July as the new National Director and is currently also involved in the prison work. Ben currently acts as the Academy Director and visits the boys once per week to inspire and motivate them, as well as providing spritual and life skill guidance as Pastor and lifecoach.

Rahel Hagemaier joined Ben at Ambassadors and currently acts as the administrative assistant. She started as a German intern who has joined Ambassadors full time since August.

As you know we invest a lot into the boys during their time in the prison, as well as helping them once they get out, to reajust to life on the outside. Looking forward we want to equip them on the inside to become football coaches that focus on coaching life through sport. We believe that by doing this they are able to impact their communities once they leave prison. We are looking into a few exciting partnership to help us in bridging the gap between life on the inside and the outside reality awaiting them. For this we need your continued support, as a halfway house would help us the assist them in making a smoother transition. More to follow in the next update.

We are running a training in October in adressing the impact of fatherlessness on them and training them to become father figures / rolemodels through understanding the roles of a father. Fatherlessness is one of the main reasons many of them find themselfes in the prison.

We have 3 boys that have graduated from the academy on parole in the last month, and we are assisting them in reajusting, finding work and being the change agents that they have become through their time in the academy.

Thank you for your continued support.

Ben Marais
Ben Marais
Rahel Hagemeier
Rahel Hagemeier
Apr 15, 2013

Rebuilding, restoring and renewing their nation.

Bongani, Chris and Andile leading the children.
Bongani, Chris and Andile leading the children.

Dear supporters,

The past couple of months have been encouraging for us as we continue to reach young men in prison, and mentor our graduates who have been released.

The prison program continues to go well and we have had quite a few of our young men released back into society. This includes our longest serving member Edward who had been in Hope Academy for the past four years. It was an emotional time saying goodbye to Edwards from the program, however we were excited for him as he had been given a place at a halfway home that one of the wardens in the prison runs. Additionally alongside this warden we sought permission from the prison for Edward to return to the prison daily to finish his school in the prison school system. Edward would of struggled to get into another educational system once released and this was a big answer to our prayers. We have visited Edward since his release and it is encouraging to see him flourish.

Another encouragment was when we heard that three of our graduates Chris, Bongani and Andile had set up a nonprofit called 'We've Been There'. This is an initiative they came up with by themselves and we were invited to their launch two weeks ago at a school in one of the townships in Cape Town. It was a special moment to see the three of them speak to 120 children and warn them about the dangers of crime, gangs and drugs. This is a result of one of the things we teach the young men in prison, the importance of using their lives and stories so that children in their communities don't make the same mistakes.

As many of our young men have left prison we have started doing trials in the prison and looking at other players to join the team. The prison we are working will become the U21 juvenile centre in the Western Cape, at the moment we are a centre that takes juveniles from 18-25 but this will change. We are registering in the winter league with an external football association which helps bring motivation to the offenders. We are excited about getting in some new players and impacting their lives and offering them hope.

Thanks for all your continued support to the program.

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Project Leader

Ben Marais

AIS SA Director
Pretoria, Gauteng South Africa

Where is this project located?

Map of Transforming juvenile offenders in South Africa